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Fredericksburg schools seeking IB program

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High school students in Fredericksburg schools may soon be able to take International Baccalaureate courses.

James Monroe High School will be a candidate for the IB program for the next two years and by the fall of 2016, students will be able to start taking the courses, if the school is approved for the program.

It’s a two-year process to get the school, and eventually the whole division, prepared to launch the program.

IB is an academically rigorous program and currently the only schools that offer it locally are Brooke Point and Mountain View high schools in Stafford County.

Spotsylvania Schools Superintendent Scott Baker said in July that he wants to look into bringing the program to his division.

Fredericksburg is interested in the program because it’s recognized as the best college-prep program in the world, said John Gordon III, the director of administrative services for the division.

The city doesn’t participate in Governor’s School, but about 25 percent, or about 250 to 300, of the students at JM are in Advanced Placement courses.

Gordon, who was the principal of JM until recently, said the division wants to retrain the thinking of the students to aim for creativity, action and service.

The courses would be offered in seven areas: the four core areas, along with fine/performing arts, world languages and health/P.E.

Over the next two years, school officials will meet with an IB consultation team, review the process, get feedback on the school and train teachers.

Gordon said the first students in the program would be those entering as freshman in a few weeks and they would do it as juniors and seniors.

There are two levels in the program: a standard level and a higher level.

Before an IB program can be launched, teachers and administrators have to be trained as well.

Initially, there would be about 15 students in the program, and it would gradually increase to 40 to 50 maximum.

Gordon said he’s working on the application for Walker–Grant Middle School to become part of the IB program as well.

Eventually, possibly around 2020, the two elementary schools, Lafayette Upper and Hugh Mercer, could be part of the program as well.

 

Robyn Sidersky 540/374-5413

rsidersky@freelancestar.com

 

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